Karl Rahner, perhaps the greatest theological mind of the last century, alerted us to the concept of “forgotten truths.” He refers to things that we once knew but have forgotten. The things we once knew as true have not changed. It is simply that we have forgotten them or forgotten how to put them in practice.
The same is true within the Vincentian Family. This is especially true over a period of time. People may forget what it was that attracted them to St. Vincent.
Forgotten Truths about Vincent
“Vincent was a genius at networking” is a kind of “forgotten truth” about Vincent. And there are many dimensions to his genius at networking.
The truth is that he was convinced that others shared his vision and would be generous in their response to needs. “The poor suffer less from a lack of generosity than from a lack of organization.”
The truth is that he was humble enough to ask others to help. He was not wedded to any messianic delusions, “Lone Ranger” tendencies of thinking that he had to do it on his own.
The truth is that he was adept at involving others in what he saw needed to be done. He found his strength in accepting his limitations.
The truth is that so often he had the courage and the skill to walk where few had walked before. He opened up paths to ministry for women whether lay or religious.
The truth is that he courageously spoke the truth to power.
Recovering Vincentian Truths
From time to time it may be good for us look at our approaches to networking in ministry and ask:
- Am I convinced that others share a vision that is concerned about the least of our brothers and sisters?
- Am I humble enough to ask others to join with me… or to join with others in projects showing practical concern for the least of our brothers and sisters?
- Am I open to accepting my limitations as reminders to ask other or join with others?
- Am I courageous enough to go against popular trends?
- Am I courageous enough to speak the truth to power?
Are not all these truths key truths about our approach to systemic change?